In Saskatchewan, approximately 220,000 individuals are struggling to some degree with a mental health or substance-use issue. The 10-year Mental Health and Addictions Action Plan, released by the government on Dec. 1, 2014 has many hopeful for change in the province. The action plan is the result of more than a year of consultations with more than 4,000 people with lived experience, their family members and friends, service providers from health, education, social services, justice, corrections and policing, and community organizations.
Dr. Fern Stockdale Winder, who led the consultations, says that the collective voice raised was clear in affirming the need to improve the systemic response to mental health and addictions issues.
The action plan aims to tackle important issues such as long wait times for mental health and addictions services and improving transitions from youth to adult services while ensuring person-centred, quality and equitable care. Itoutlines recommendations that aim to address seven key system goals including:
- Enhance access and capacity and support recovery in the community;
- Focus on prevention and early intervention;
- Create person and family-centred and coordinated services;
- Respond to diversities;
- Partner with First Nations and Métis Peoples;
- Reduce stigma and increase awareness; and
- Transform the system and sustain the change.
The government also released a companion document outlining the Cross-Ministry Initiatives that support the recommendations made in the Action Plan. These initiatives include an anti-bullying strategy, suicide prevention protocols, mental health and drug treatment courts, addictions treatment, and a Police and Crisis Team (PACT) where a police officer works with a mental health worker to co-respond to individuals experiencing a mental health crisis.
To read the full Mental Health and Addictions Action Plan, download the plan from the Government of Saskatchewan website.